Andsnes has also made his mark on the music of Rachmaninov. His recording of the Russian composer’s first two piano concertos was recognized with a Gramophone Award, and this past May, his live account of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra drew a five-star review from the Times of London, which marveled:
“Andsnes is one of classical music’s most in-demand performers for his brilliant technique and terrific musicianship, yet he doesn’t have an ostentatious bone in his body. That’s why this performance, as marvellous to watch as to hear, was simultaneously so poetic and so gripping. In a pianistic masterclass, Andsnes took the concerto’s ferocious demands completely in his stride without seeming so much as to break sweat. He played Rachmaninov’s lines with bell-like clarity and intense focus but with a line of poetry running through like a golden thread. Even when the orchestra melted away and he played solo cadenzas that would make most pianists lose sleep, his playing was beautiful rather than showy, infused with lyrical legato. His presence raised the orchestra to the level of greatness.”
Next spring, Andsnes reprises the concerto with two U.S. orchestras, first in concerts with Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony (April 19 & 21), and then with Lahav Shani and the Philadelphia Orchestra (May 3 & 4). These Pennsylvania dates follow performances of Rachmaninov’s Third in Europe: with Han-Na Chang and Norway’s Trondheim Symphony (Nov 23), Klaus Mäkelä and the Orchestre de Paris (Dec 6 & 7); Honeck and the Danish National Symphony (Jan 25 & 26); and on a Dutch tour with the North Netherlands Symphony (Nov 30–Dec 2).